support Essence
author AP date 30/09/10 venue The Rock, Copenhagen, DEN

A Thursday evening in the company of two of the better Danish metal bands is a Thursday evening well spent. Clearly I am not the only one with these sentiments, because the turnout at The Rock tonight closes in on the amount of audience that Marduk was able to draw about a month ago. Armed with a Jack and coke in one hand - which eventually, inexplicably, turned into four Jack and cokes - and horns up in the other, it was another day at work for me. Man, I love this job. But man, I hate writing these redundant intro babbles.


Essence is one of the most promising metal bands in Denmark at the moment. Their take on old school thrash has already earned considerable praise both home and abroad, not least because their collective instrumental prowess belies their young age and offers some serious competition to even the mightiest of thrash metal goliaths. The band prides itself on excellent showmanship, and tonight's performance is no exception. Guitar toting vocalist Lasse Skov performs with the confidence and charisma required to command thousand-strong audiences, and the entire band's predominant demeanor reflects genuine passion and love for the art form. We are offered tasters from the band's upcoming debut album, such as the absolutely fantastic mid-pounder "Shades of Black" and the set-closing title track "Lost in Violence", which are met with huge approval; we are patronised with impossible guitar and bass virtuosity; and we are generally treated to a collective performance so flawless and tight that it is near-impossible to say anything negative about it. Once again Essence prove their worth as one of the finest thrash metal bands in Denmark and remind us that while their ambitions are set high (including international touring in the near future), this band has deserved everything coming their way.


Mercenary, on the other hand, are one of the oldest and most respected cult metal bands in Denmark. Gigs have been few and far in between amid member-shuffling in recent years, but with a complete line-up, the band promises us that a new album is underway, and that tonight's performance is but a taster of bigger things to come. Mercenary's stage set-up mimics the big production of bands like Mnemic, with blinding strobe lights etcetera hanging from sturdy scaffoldings and the band's power amplifiers customised with the band name. Such gimmicks may seem unnecessary at first, but when coupled with the professional performance and career-spanning discography, the extra tricks give the band's sound an even more enormous character. A sound, which has been described as an amalgamation of melodic death, thrash and power metal. What this basically translates to is a generally fast tempo, an abundance of soaring melodies and vocals that alternate between a powerful croon and a Raunchy like scream growl combo courtesy of bass swinging frontman René Pedersen. On the left side of the stage Martin Bruus noodles away at any given chance with a condescending effortlessness, while Morten Løwe lays down textured and often very complex percussion between bouts of windmilling. New songs are heard, but the setlist is dominated by classic material, which naturally transforms the crowd in attendance tonight into a sea of frenzied fists, horns and moshing. Like Essence, there isn't much reason in nitpicking through Mercenary's performance on a quest to reveal cosmetic flaws - the important part is the atmosphere that a revered band like this can establish with little more effort than what it takes to play their music, occasionally bounce about, and connect with the crowd. Without being remarkable or unpredictable, Mercenary solidify their status as one of the best metal bands in Denmark, both live and on record.


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